In the United States there is still no licensed or approved vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). With the possibility that there will be a limited supply of one or more COVID-19 vaccines available before the end of 2020, it is crucial that information on vaccines is accurate.
FACT: COVID-19 vaccines don’t make you sick with COVID-19
None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently under development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. There are different types of vaccines in development. However, the goal of all of them is to teach our immune system to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can produce symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is developing immunity. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.
It usually takes a few weeks for the body to produce immunity after vaccination. This means that it is possible for a person to become infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after being vaccinated, and become ill. This is because the vaccine did not have enough time to generate protection.
FACT: COVID-19 vaccines do not produce positive results in viral tests for COVID-19
Vaccines currently in clinical trial stages in the United States will not produce positive results in viral tests, which are used to detect if you have a ongoing infection.
If your body generates an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility that you will be positive on some of the antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate that you had a previous infection and that it might have some level of protection against the virus. Right now, experts are looking at how the COVID-19 vaccine might affect the results of antibody tests.
REAL FACT: People who got COVID-19 may still benefit from the vaccine
Due to the serious health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that there is a possibility of being reinfected with COVID-19, people may be advised to get vaccinated against COVID-19 even if they already had it.
At the moment, experts do not know how much protection time people who get sick have once they recover from COVID-19. The immunity that a person develops after an infection, known as natural immunity, varies from person to person. There is some initial evidence to suggest that natural immunity might not last long.
We won’t know how long the immunity generated through vaccination lasts until we have a vaccine and more data on its effectiveness.
Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about, and the CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.
FACT: Getting vaccinated can help prevent getting sick from COVID-19
Although many people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, others may become seriously ill and may even die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 might affect you, even if you are not at increased risk for serious complications. If you get sick, you may also spread the disease to friends, family, and other close people while you are sick. Vaccination against COVID-19 helps protect you by creating an antibody-generating response without having to suffer from the disease. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.
REAL FACT: The mRNA vaccine will not alter your DNA.
MRNA stands for messenger ribonucleic acid and can be easily described as the instructions for making a protein or even a protein part. The mRNA is not capable of altering or modifying the genetic makeup (DNA) of a person. The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine does not enter the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is found. In other words, mRNA does not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. In contrast, COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA work together with the body’s natural defenses to safely build protection (immunity) against the disease. Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work.